Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Furlough and self-employment schemes a 'lifeline' for thousands of workers


Furlough and self-employment schemes have been a 'lifeline' for thousands of workers in Swindon and Wiltshire, according to new government figures.

The figures suggest that since the government launched its packages of economic support 280,000 jobs in Swindon and 54,600 jobs in Wiltshire have been protected by the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.

Meanwhile, 7,300 self-employed workers in Swindon have claimed £22.6 million through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, while 17,200 self-employed people in Wiltshire have claimed £53.8 million.

Both sets of figures include claims up to May 31.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was launched on March 20 and provided grants to employers to pay 80 percent of a staff wage each month, up to a total of £2,500 per person per month. At the end of May, the scheme was extended until the end of October.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme being announced a week later. The scheme paid a grant worth 80 percent of self-employed people's profits up to £2,500 each month. At the end of May a second grant of up to £6,570 that would be paid in August was announced

Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our economic response to coronavirus was designed to keep people in work, protect people’s incomes, and support businesses. These measures have been on a scale unmatched by any government in recent history. All to give us the best chance of recovering quickly as the economy reopens.
“Now our energies are focused on getting people back to work safely, growing the economy and ensuring people can thrive in the new post-Covid world.”

Elsewhere, the amount of Covid-related support issued to communities through local councils now totals £95 million in Swindon and £188 million in Wiltshire.

Business Rate Relief accounts for around half of Swindon's total – £47 million – and £41.5 million in Wiltshire.

The Provisional Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) total £31 million in Swindon and £106 million in Wiltshire, while the recently-launched Provisional Additional Discretionary Grant Fund for small businesses comes to £1.8 million in Swindon and £5.1 million in Wiltshire.